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Yankees power past Braves to take series
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vs. Red Sox

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Turner Field, Atlanta

Pitchers: Jair Jurrjens, RHP (5-5, 2.89); Josh Beckett, RHP (8-3, 3.74)

TV, radio: Peachtree TV; 102.9 FM

Tickets:, 404-577-9100

Web site:

ATLANTA — Alex Rodriguez is starting to get his groove back.

"We needed that," he said. "I needed it. I felt like my body was reacting pretty well."

Rodriguez tied Reggie Jackson with his 563rd home run, and Mariano Rivera earned his 499th career save in the New York Yankees’ 11-7 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night.

The Yankees have won two straight after a three-game losing streak. New York took sole possession of second place in the AL East and moved four games behind Boston in the AL East.

Rodriguez, who drove in six runs over seven at-bats before striking out in the eighth, gave the Yankees a 10-6 lead with a two-run single in the seventh off reliever Peter Moylan.

His 10th homer in the first, a solo shot, tied Jackson for 11th place on baseball’s career list.

"I’m sure Mr. October will have something to say about that," Rodriguez said of Jackson.

Rodriguez and Johnny Damon finished with four RBIs.

It was Rodriguez’s first road homer since connecting on the first swing of his season at Baltimore on May 8 and his first multihit game since going 5 for 5 at Texas on May 25. The three-time AL MVP seems to have recovered quickly after his average sunk to .204 through his first two at-bats Wednesday.

The Yankees’ interleague road trip continues this weekend when they face the rival Mets at Citi Field.

New York won its second straight since general manager Brian Cashman arrived unexpectedly at Turner Field.

"It has nothing to do with me," Cashman said. "When you have talent, all you need is for a few things to break."

Rivera, who needs one save to join Trevor Hoffman as the only pitchers with 500, faced one batter, retiring pinch-hitter Diory Hernandez on fly out, to strand two runners. Rivera has converted 17 of 18 chances this season.

Jeter went 4 for 5, scored four runs and reached on a walk and an error. Damon, whose three-run triple in the third gave the Yankees a 6-1 lead, also had an RBI single to make it 11-6 in the eighth. His 95 career triples are the most of any active player.

"It makes a huge difference (because) I don’t think Derek and I have been hot together all year," Damon said. "Hopefully this is a sign of things to come. When we’re both on our game, we’re going to score tons of runs."

Atlanta scored five runs in the fourth off Yankees starter Andy Pettitte as the left-hander was chased when Yunel Escobar’s two-run single cut the lead to 8-6 with two out in third. Pettitte gave up seven hits, six runs — three earned — and three walks with four strikeouts. Reliever Alfredo Aceves (5-1) got the win in relief.

Derek Lowe (7-6) lost his third straight start, failing to retire a batter in the fourth and allowing seven hits, six runs — four earned — and walked three with four strikeouts in three innings.

"Terrible," Lowe said. "Three in a row. Obviously, tonight was a disaster."

The Braves had their second consecutive defeat and fourth in the past six. Atlanta is 1-6-3 over its past 10 series.

"It’s frustrating because we had a chance to win a series for the first time in a long time," Lowe said. "We go out and get shelled again for the second in my three starts."

Aceves struck out Garret Anderson to strand two runners in the fourth. He and Phil Coke combined to pitch 4 1-3 scoreless innings before David Roberston gave up Brian McCann’s eighth homer in the ninth to end the scoring.

Escobar went 2 for 4 with three RBIs. His first-inning RBI double cut New York’s lead to 2-1.

"We got close to holding them, and they would find a hole somewhere," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "There was not an easy out anywhere."

Damon improved his average to .538 in 13 at-bats against Lowe. The two were teammates when Boston won the 2004 World Series.

Lowe, who pitched last season for the Los Angeles Dodgers, had gone 37 straight starts without losing three straight. Making his 40th career appearance, including 16 starts, against New York, Lowe dropped to 8-11 and raised his ERA to 6.41 when facing the Yankees.

"They have done very good against me," Lowe said. "Looking back at my earlier struggles against them, that was a different team then. Today was just awful pitching."

NOTES: Jeter has 14 hits in his past 36 at-bats (.389). ... New York manager Joe Girardi said Rodriguez, who missed two starts last week because of fatigue, will be in the lineup all three games this weekend. .... Yankees ace CC Sabathia returned to New York to rest for his start Friday. Sabathia left his last start Sunday at Florida after feeling tightness his left biceps. ... Braves RHP Javier Vazquez walked as a pinch-hitter in the fifth.

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